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Wednesday, January 15, 2014
AJ McCarron to focus on draft

ESPN.com news services

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting, has decided to skip the Reese's Senior Bowl to instead focus on preparation for the NFL draft.

"I really appreciate being invited to play in the Senior Bowl," McCarron told al.com. "It is quite an honor and something I've dreamed about while growing up in the Mobile area. However, at this time, I'm putting all of my focus and energy into preparing for the NFL Combine, pro day and the rest of the pre-draft evaluation process. Therefore, I won't be taking part in the Senior Bowl."

McCarron, who had a 36-4 record and two BCS national titles with the Crimson Tide, was one of six quarterbacks who were invited to the game, which is held on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala. 

"AJ McCarron has declined our invitation to play in the 2014 Reese's Senior Bowl," Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage told ESPN.com. "We are very excited about the deep and talented roster of 100-plus players coming to Mobile [Ala., site of the game]."

McCarron, ranked as the 43rd best player available -- and fourth-best QB -- in the NFL draft by Scouts Inc., is viewed as a late first- or early second-round draft pick by some analysts.

The quarterback's father, Tony McCarron, has said that his son's agent, Todd France, thought it best not to compete in the bowl game.

"The reason AJ didn't say anything for sure before the bowl game is because he had already decided to put that decision in his agent's hands, but he didn't know who that was going to be yet," Tony McCarron told College Football 24/7. "But that's the advice he got, and if you're going to pay those people, you've got to trust them. All I can say is, the people who criticize it don't have a thing to lose."

Other quarterbacks who have already committed to the Senior Bowl -- which pits the best college players in a North vs. South format -- include Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Derek Carr (Fresno State), David Fales (San Jose State), Stephen Morris (Miami) and Logan Thomas (Va. Tech).

Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com contributed to this report.